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County Board raises its levy by 3.4%

By Staff | Dec 22, 2019

Terry Anderson of the Purple Heart Committee presents signs naming Faribault County as an official Purple Heart County.

It was the final scheduled meeting of 2019 for the Faribault County Commissioners so there was a lot on their agenda when they met on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

During the Truth in Taxation hearing, the board voted to raise the 2020 county levy to $11,687,899.

This represents an increase of $384,145, or 3.4 percent over the 2019 levy.

There were three major factors for the levy increase.

The addition of a full-time jail employee resulted in an increase to the general fund. There was also a debt service increase of $65,000 in anticipation of an additional courthouse improvement bond. Finally, Human Services saw an increase of $67,000.

Also present at the meeting were Veteran Services Officer Jenna Schmidtke and Minnesota State Commander Terry Anderson of the Purple Heart Commission along with many veterans and their families.

They were on hand to hear the board vote to declare Faribault County a Purple Heart County.

Commander Anderson presented the board with road signs identifying the county as a Purple Heart county.

“I want to thank Faribault County for recognizing and supporting our Veterans,” Anderson said.

Immediately following the Purple Heart declaration, Joe Steck, outreach coordinator for Congressman Jim Hagedorn, presented the commissioners with a flag which had been flown over the United States Capital.

Planning and Zoning administrator Loria Rebuffoni was also present at the meeting and provided the commissioners with an update on the feedlots within the county.

“The number of feedlots has decreased from 362 to 293,” Rebuffoni reported. “A lot of the decrease is due to smaller feedlots ceasing operation. The decrease also means we will receive $5,000 less in funding from the state.”

Upon Rebuffoni’s recommendation, the board voted unanimously to discontinue maintenance fees on conditional use permits with the caveat the staff review conditions after two years.

Public Works director Mark Daly was also on hand to inform the commissioners of the removal of a bridge located on 395th avenue in Blue Earth City Township.

“The bridge was deemed fractured critical so it was not safe,” Daly explained. “In fact, the bridge collapsed during demolition.”

The bridge will not be replaced and dirt barricades and signs have been placed on both ends of the road where the bridge was located, according to Daly.

Also on hand for the final meeting of the year was Milton Steele representing the Faribault County Fair board.

“We have no outstanding debts at this time,” Steele reported. “We are also excited to announce there will be a carnival returning to the fair in 2020.”

The carnival they have lined up is supposed to bring a minimum of 10 rides including a ferris wheel, merry-go-round and bumper cars.

“The cost was similar to what it took to get the inflatables to the fair,” Steele commented.

In other business:

The board voted to approve a three percent cost of living increase for non-union employees effective Jan. 1, 2020.

A three percent pay increase for County Board members was approved by the board with commissioner Warmka voting against the pay increase. The annual salary for 2020 will be $21,558.

A request by Melissa Lore, drainage manager, to attend a two-day Watershed Applications of the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework was approved by the board.

The board approved the request of Brittney Gehrking to attend a two-day U.S. Police Canine Association certification.